TIPS013: Who is Jay? with Susan Ashby

TIPS012: Discerning the Truth with Victoria Alonso
August 15, 2017
TIPS014: Puzzling with Susie Reynolds Reece
August 23, 2017

TIPS013: Who is Jay? with Susan Ashby

Susan Ashby along with her husband Hank, co-founded Jay’s Hope Fund administered by Stewart-Marchman-Act (SMA) Foundation. She has written opinion columns for major newspapers, hosted at mental health conferences, and is a dedicated advocate. Susan has facilitated NAMI’s Family-to-Family Support Groups. A former graphic designer, Susan now owns a floral design business. She previously served as a church’s Communications Director and an Associate Editor of a weekly newspaper.

Click to tweet: Susan Asbhy shares her incredible journey on the i’Mpossible Project Show!

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Time Stamped Notes

  • 2.02 Susan and her husband Hank are high school sweethearts (aww!).
  • 2.26 Susan and Hank have three children, their eldest son is grown and a geologist, their daughter is grown and a social worker with autistic children, and their third child, Jay… stay tuned to find out more about Jay
  • 5.00 Susan and Hank’s son Jay was into sports and played soccer and basketball, ran track, swam, and loved fishing. He did well in school and was an artist and musician (guitar and upright base).
  • 6.00 Around his junior year of high school, Jay, a model son and student, began to have behavioral problems
  • 6.22 Junior year of high school, Jay was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, which is a combination of bipolar and schizophrenia (they saw more schizophrenia symptoms than bipolar)
  • 7.15 The Asbhys looked for support with Jay from their church and from their local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter
  • 9.30 Because of her experiences with Jay, Susan believes that families of persons living with mental illness, should be given more information or even more of a say in their loved one’s medical treatment
  • 15.40 Jay was on a long waiting list for wraparound care for the 100 most mentally ill people in a county in Florida, but was unable to wait any longer and ended up taking his own life
  • 17.40 Holding onto anger and holding onto a grudge does is heavy and does not help move forward in life
  • 21.00 After the loss of Jay, the Ashbys established the Jay’s Hope Fund to help provide funds to their local mental health agency the Stewart Marchman Foundation to bring awareness and education to families like themselves
  • 22.34 The Ashbys also started an awareness campaign “Who is Jay,” to let people know that their son Jay could have been and could be anyone. Mental illness can affect anyone
  • 26.00 Susan’s favorite word is “zip-a-dee-doo-dah” because of her love of all things Disney (find out more fun facts about Susan in the Quick Fire Round).

Key Points

  • Mental illness doesn’t just affect the person who is living with it, but the family and friends as well—all who need love and support
  • Mental illness is an illness and not a choice
  • Life is full of gray areas rather than black and white, and therefore we need to practice empathy and compassion toward others more often than not


Resources or Websites Mentioned

Who is Jay? website:

Stewart Marchman Act Foundation:

Susan and Hank’s email:

Susan’s floral design company:

Susan and Hank’s story, Who is Jay, (e-book) in The i’Mpossible Project’s Special Edition: Lemonade Stand:




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